New York's Apollo to mark legendary Bob Marley shows

Jamaican reggae star Bob Marley in 1976, three years before his legendary shows at New York's Apollo Theatre, and seven years before his death in 1981 at the age of 36 at Cedars Sinai hospital in Miami from cancer. -- PHOTO: AFP 
Jamaican reggae star Bob Marley in 1976, three years before his legendary shows at New York's Apollo Theatre, and seven years before his death in 1981 at the age of 36 at Cedars Sinai hospital in Miami from cancer. -- PHOTO: AFP 

NEW YORK (AFP) - Descendants of Bob Marley will play at New York's Apollo Theatre this month to commemorate a legendary set of shows by the reggae legend in 1979.

The Wailers - heirs of the band that originally played with Marley - will perform a two-set night on November 29 along with the late singer's son Ky-Mani Marley, whose reggae is infused with hip-hop.

Also scheduled to perform are two of reggae's most popular acts - veteran Jamaican band Third World and Maxi Priest, the R&B-influenced British-Jamaican singer, the theatre said Tuesday.

Bob Marley and The Wailers performed seven shows over four days in October 1979 in the first reggae performances at the Apollo Theater, a cultural hub in Harlem that has been the stage for a who's who of jazz greats.

Marley said in an interview at the time that he was eager to perform in Harlem due to the neighbourhood's association with Marcus Garvey, the Jamaican-born writer and orator who in the early 20th century encouraged the African diaspora to move to its ancestral continent.

Garvey became an inspirational figure for Rastafarians including Marley, who advocated pan-Africanism. Marley performed at the Apollo with images on the stage of Garvey and Haile Selassie I, the Ethiopian emperor considered divine by Rastafarians.

The Apollo shows brought a rousing response in Harlem, heartening Marley who had wanted to increase his standing in the African American community. Despite his views, Marley's initial fan base in the United States was largely white.

The concert came soon after Marley released one of his most politically charged albums, Survival, which included the melodious anthems Africa Unite and Zimbabwe, a celebration of the fall of the white supremacist Rhodesia regime.

The commemorative concerts come as the Apollo marks its 80th birthday with a range of shows and events. Earlier this month, the Apollo inducted jazz pioneer Louis Armstrong into a new Walk of Fame with a series of New Orleans-inspired concerts.